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Sod Poodles Come Back to Top Travs On Friday Night

Two-Out Hitting in Eighth Sparks Win
August 19, 2023

Amarillo, Texas (August 18, 2023) – The Sod Poodles trailed the Arkansas Travelers for most of the Friday night clash. Some clutch two-out hitting in the eighth and a shutdown performance by the Amarillo bullpen over the final four innings allowed the Sod Poodles to take game four of the

Amarillo, Texas (August 18, 2023) – The Sod Poodles trailed the Arkansas Travelers for most of the Friday night clash. Some clutch two-out hitting in the eighth and a shutdown performance by the Amarillo bullpen over the final four innings allowed the Sod Poodles to take game four of the series 6-5.

A perfect relay on a ball that caromed in the right field corner prevented a leadoff inside-the-park home run in the top of the first. Amarillo starter Luke Albright then worked around a two-out single for a scoreless top of the first. Arkansas took a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run home run plating the first runs of the night for either club. A pair of defensive errors for Amarillo aided in another run coming across in the third before a single and double put the Travs ahead by four after their at-bats in the fourth.

Amarillo's third hit of the night finally got the Sod Poodles on the board in the home half of the fourth. After a leadoff walk to begin the inning, Deyvison De Los Santos crushed a ball to the right field berm for his second home run in as many nights. The 114 MPH rocket cut the Travs lead in half and gave the D-backs' no. 5-rated his 13th home run of the season.

Albright retired the Travs in order in the top of the fifth and then each of the first two in the sixth before Jake Rice was brought on from the bullpen to face the nine-hole hitter. The left-handed Rice needed just four pitches to earn the strikeout. Rice was back to work in the top of the seventh after Amarillo was unable to get a baserunner off Arkansas' starter, Jimmy Joyce. Rice struck out his second of the night following a pair of one-out singles that put runners on the corners. He left both stranded with his third strikeout of the night for the third straight scoreless inning from Amarillo pitchers and sent the offense chasing a pair of runs.

Neyfy Castillo singled to start the inning but a diving catch in foul ground and a deep charge to straight away center field kept Castillo from advancing into scoring position. A call to the bullpen and a strikeout sent the game to the eighth.

Arkansas extended their lead in the eighth in part to a leadoff double, stolen base, and RBI single. Conor Grammes worked around a walk and another single that had runners on the corners. A tailor-made double play left a pair stranded and Amarillo headed to the bottom of the eighth down by three.

HODGETOWN magic was alive and well for the Adolescent Answer Backs. Jesus Valdez kickstarted the inning with a leadoff double down into the left-field corner. A one-out walk and throwing error had the bases loaded for the Sod Poodles. A wild pitch scored Valdez from third and put the remaining runners into scoring position. A strikeout had Amarillo down to their final out of the inning with Castillo coming back to the plate. His second hit of the ballgame was a two-RBI single to knot things up at 5-5. An errant throw to the infield allowed Castillo to move up into scoring himself. Juan Centeno then collected his third hit of the night and his second double to drive in the go-ahead run.

Now holding a one-run advantage, Amarillo turned to Christian Montes De Oca out of the bullpen. The right-hander struck out the first man he faced ahead of a single and a walk that moved the potential tying run for the Travs into scoring position. Montes Oca then induced an infield pop fly and completed the Amarillo comeback with a strikeout to seal the Friday night victory.

Securing at worst a series split, Amarillo aims to win the series with a win in either of the final two games against the Travs at home. RHP Jamison Hill will take the mound for Amarillo after working six scoreless innings in his most recent appearance last Sunday in Tulsa. First pitch from HODGETOWN on Dino Night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night.


YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW?: For the second time this season, D-backs' no.5-rated prospect Deyvison De Los Santos has homered in consecutive games. After hitting an opposite-field shot on Thursday, De Los Santos went right back to the well on Friday night. His two-run home run came off that bat at 114 MPH and landed halfway up the right-field berm for his 13th home run of the season. His last back-to-back games with a home run came on July 18-19 against the Wichita Wind Surge. His 13 home runs are the most ever at one single level of his career and now has him nine off his single-season career-best of the 22 home runs he hit last season between three different levels of the minors. Since returning from the complex after the all-star break, De Los Santos is hitting .313 (36-for-115) with six home runs, seven doubles, a triple, and 20 RBI. He has raised his season AVG from .206 on July 30th to where it sits now at .240 over his last 28 games.

JUAN SWING OF THE BAT: In this case it was three swings for Juan Centeno. The veteran catcher matched his season-high with a three-hit night on Friday night. It included a pair of doubles, including the go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the eighth with two outs. His last three-hit night came back on June 1st against Springfield and was his first multi-hit game since June 23rd on the road against Corpus Christi.

RAKE-Y CASTILLO: Neyfy Castillo picked up his second multi-hit game of the series after going 2-for-4 with the game-tying two-RBI single in the eighth. Castillo is hitting 7-for-15 with three home runs, two doubles, 11 RBI, and has scored seven times this week. This comes after he went just 1-for-16 with a walk, run, and 11 strikeouts in the series in Tulsa. Over his last 30 games since the beginning of July, Castillo is hitting .272 (31-for-114) with nine home runs, six doubles, and 28 RBI.

NOT DEAD YET AND VERY GRATEFUL: Entering Friday night's game, Amarillo was 4-41 when trailing after the seventh inning in games this year. The four-run bottom of the eighth helped the Sod Poodles to pick up their fifth win of the year when down after the seventh.

BEARY NICE: Christian Montes De Oca collected his fifth save of the year with a shutdown top of the ninth that included a pair of strikeouts - including the final out of the game. Montes De Oca has now capitalized on five of seven saves this year. He now has 18 saves since the start of last season, the most in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. He holds a four-save lead over fellow Sod Poodle, Kyle Backhus who has 14 saves during the same time span.

JESUS HITS: Playing in his second game as a position player and his first at home, Jesus Valdez started the eighth-inning rally with a leadoff double. It was his fourth hit for Amarillo and his second extra-base hit after hitting a home run last Sunday in Tulsa.